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Are My Medical Records Confidential?

What is HIPAA? Why does it exist? How does it affect me? These are questions that run through our heads whenever we step into a doctor's office or an emergency room, and are asked to sign unfamiliar forms. Unfortunately, our questions are often left unanswered, and even when information is provided, it can be hard to make sense of everything. Here, we will try to make HIPAA more understandable and accessible to you. Because at one point, everyone will be a patient, and will need to understand the effects of HIPAA.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Hipaa was enacted in 1996 and primarily aims to guarantee patients' privacy. HIPAA ensures that there is a national standard for the exchange of healthcare related data between providers, healthcare organizations, and clearinghouses. HIPAA also makes it easier for those who are terminally ill to obtain health insurance.

Why does it exist?

Many people have their health care information stored in files, drawers or on computers. Previously, these records were easily accessible and there were few regulations about who could access this information. HIPAA creates a standardized set of rules for your privacy.

How does HIPPA affect me?

People have more access to knowledge regarding how their healthcare information will be used. People will also have more privacy protection and control over their healthcare records. People can take comfort in the fact that there are boundaries on the use and release of their health records, and those who violate these boundaries will be held accountable with penalties.

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